The Value in New Year Resolutions

The Value in New Year Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again. The time when we re-evaluate our life plan, make some minor (or not so minor) adjustments and set a new direction for ourselves. We call this setting “New Year resolutions”.

Of course, the joke is that we set these resolutions with great enthusiasm but by the end of January most of them have fallen by the wayside. So what is the key to making lasting change?

It’s all a question of value. Students of NLP (neuro-liguistic programming) are introduced to one of the great communication models – Logical Levels, as devised by Robert Dilts. I remember being introduced to this model and believing I had been given a major insight into the secrets of the universe – or at least our part in it.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that our behaviour is driven by our beliefs and values. What Dilts’ model shows us is how this happens. As New Year resolutions are about implementing personal change, and by change we mean changing our behaviour, then it makes sense that we have to believe in this change and see value in it, for it to be maintained. We also have to believe that it is realistic and achievable. Lastly, it has to fit with our sense of identity. Putting these together, the best resolutions for change need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • be linked to our personal values
  • be consistent with the beliefs that come from these values
  • generate clear, realistic and achievable actions (behaviours)

In addition, your resolutions will be more likely to succeed if they are consistent with your personal sense of identity. This is why coaches suggest you state your resolution at an identity level, rather than a behaviour level. Here’s an example around one of the more popular resolutions at this time of year – losing weight;

  1. State the resolution as an identity; “I want to be slim” rather than “I want to lose weight”.
  2. Make sure it is linked to at least one of your personal values; “health” or “fitness” etc.
  3. Now, define the steps you need to take to achieve this by setting some (SMART) goals. Focus on realistic and achievable in particular.
  4. Now, write an action plan to deliver your goals.

If steps 1-5 above seem like too much hard work, then don’t waste your time by going any further with this resolution, as you clearly either don’t believe or value it

If one of your New Year Resolutions is to “be a more influential communicator” then why not follow this blog and learn how to do this for free?